Attacks on Society’s Protectors: A dangerous trend to be taken seriously
I was horrified by two news reports this week. The first involved the vicious attack of a British soldier on the street in London. He was hit with a vehicle then hacked to death with edged weapons. The second is a report of the ambush murder of Bardstown Police officer Jason Ellis in Kentucky. As abhorrent as it is, LEOs have been ambushed and killed in the United States in the past. In 2008, two Dekalb County Police Officers were killed working a part-time job at an apartment complex. In the first story, the attackers made it clear this was an act of international terrorism. The motive for the second attack is not yet known. However, the thought is ever present on my mind: Is this a new trend that will affect American law enforcement in the future?
Consider two attacks on United States soldiers. On November 2009, twelve people were killed and thirty wounded on the base at Fort Hood in Texas. The perpetrator made it clear that he was carrying out a terrorist attack. Earlier in June 2009, two service members were attacked outside an Arkansas recruiting station. One, Pvt. William A. Long, lost his life. The perpetrator also made it clear he was carrying out a planned, terrorist attack on military targets.
In this new age of terrorism that is apparently becoming more savage and violent as evidenced by the attack in London, and more prevalent as evidenced by the other attacks, LEOs are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines of what seems like a war as opposed to normal law enforcement functions. In Boston, it was law enforcement officers who engaged with two siblings who turned into terrorists in an intense battle through the streets with LEOs firing bullets and suspects throwing grenades.
While legislators debate laws that make people feel good while seeking to deprive law abiding citizens of the right to defend themselves while waiting for law enforcement to arrive, the reality is that our country faces a new danger. No longer are we dealing only with violent criminals who seek to rob or rape, I believe we are seeing the emergence of a new type of threat, one that is far more violent, better equipped, more determined, and that will not be deterred by the presence of law enforcement. If the terror threat facing our world has indeed come to the streets of the United States, three things are absolutely true. First, LEOs cannot be everywhere. Law abiding citizens must be free and able to protect themselves and those around them. Second, LEOs must be equipped with appropriate training and equipment to face down and immediately stop any attack on the citizenry or law enforcement. As a symbol of government, LEOs may no longer be the hunters of evil men. They may become the hunted. Finally, as with any other danger from natural disaster to criminal acts, America’s LEOs will be on the front line. Stay safe.